Excitement, summitting at Super Bowl dreams, reigned as the newest members of the New York Jets made their first comments in green.
Even without the question of the season’s mere existence up in the air, it’s rather early to start thinking about the Super Bowl.
Don’t tell that to newly minted New York Jets offensive lineman Connor McGovern, though. The former Denver Bronco believes that the Jets, with their current setup, could be representing the AFC in Tampa this winter.
“The most important thing and the reason I’m with the Jets is I think they’ve got the coaches and the players to win a Super Bowl,” McGovern said in a Friday conference call, per Alex Smith of SNY. “They’re a team that I thought had the opportunity to win a lot of football games. Now with the conference being a little shook up from a team standpoint, I think here’s a real opportunity to win a lot of games and definitely get to the playoffs and get pretty deep in the playoffs.”
McGovern’s optimism was not exclusive during the conference call proceedings. Other newcomers through free agency, their first public statements as members of the Jets, expounded on the good feelings. Looking on the bright side of life has been rare on the green side of New York during a playoff drought approaching its tenth season. But don’t tell that to new receiver Breshad Perriman.
If there are any signings in this process that Jets have been worried about, it’s probably that of Perriman. The Central Florida alum went to the Ravens in the first round of 2015’s draft (26th overall) but the Jets are already his fifth team.
Perriman finally seemed to show signs of getting it together in the latter stages of last season as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Mike Evans nursing an injury, Perriman became one of Jameis Winston’s top targets. He would pick up the slack by ending the season with five straight games of earning at least 70 yards. A win over Detroit saw him score three touchdowns to accompany a career-best 113 yards. Perriman would break the latter tally with 134 yards in the season finale against Atlanta.
Over the final five weeks, Perriman’s 506 receiving yards were third-best in the NFL behind Tyler Higbee and DeVante Parker.
Perriman’s role of primary receiver is expected to expand with Robby Anderson having left for the NFC South campgrounds of Carolina. He assured Jets fans that they and quarterback Sam Darnold have nothing to worry about.
“I know that what I bring to the table is going to be great,” Perriman said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I’m ready and eager to meet my teammates and get to work and prove the (fans) that have any doubt in their mind wrong.”
“I just feel like (the last five weeks) were a tiny glimpse and I’m looking forward to building from that little run I had last season.”
Perriman is confident his late 2019 success can be duplicated thanks to the Jets’ coaching staff, lead by head man Adam Gase.
“He’s definitely an offensive-minded coach,” he said, according to Costello. “You see that the receivers that he’s had and the numbers that they put up in his system, I have no doubt in my mind that this is going to be definitely a season to remember for me, as far as production-wise. I’m just really excited at the opportunities that I will get just being in an offense and being in a bigger role.”
What will also help Perriman in the cause are the Jets’ offensive line additions. There could be as many as four new starters on the line, as McGovern joins established veterans Greg Van Roten and George Fant as new brothers in green.
While the optimism carried in the blocking circles, the period has been a time of reflection for Van Roten. As a native of Rockville Centre in Nassau County (a graduate of Chaminade High School), Van Roten has been particularly affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a report from Steve Serby, also of the New York Post, Van Roten expounded on the best and worst of times in New York football. His parents have settled in South Carolina and his grandmother in Connecticut, but he still knows how the pandemic has affected the New York City area, which has become America’s epicenter for the disease.
“I feel like everybody in New York knows somebody that has it, think they have it or has been affected by it,” Van Roten told Serby. “We need to take it seriously and find ways to not overwhelm the medical system. I have friends that are nurses that are dealing with this. It’s definitely scary.”
Van Roten’s thoughts that sports have had to take a backseat have certainly come to light. The COVID-19 situation has also prevented the new Jets from receiving physicals, which would complete the process of their signings.
Effects of the disease have caused active sports leagues (i.e. NHL, MLB, NASCAR) and those about to get underway (MLB, WNBA) to postpone their seasons. XFL spring football was canceled entirely. Commissioners of the major professional sports leagues, including the NFL’s Roger Goodell, met with President Donald Trump over a conference call to perhaps go over what’s next in these uncertain times. While the NFL may have to delay the start of its 2020 season (or at least possibly play it sans spectators), its 2020 draft is scheduled to be held on April 23-25. Proceedings were originally scheduled for Las Vegas but has since been moved to a remote setting.
If and when we do have football, Perriman promised to make this year a special one.
“I have no doubt in my mind that it’s definitely going to be a season to remember for me, production-wise,” the receiver said, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I’m just really excited for the opportunities that I will get and (having) a bigger role.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags